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Celebrating Our Differences

We are all different, and that’s okay.  I say this statement out loud at minimum once a month, usually when confronted with the unsavory news about banned and challenged books, book burnings, etc.; activities that are, at best, seriously misguided attempts to protect young minds from being exposed to topics deemed to be above their maturity level. The empath in me is always seeking to fully understand and walk in the proverbial shoes of someone else. However, the more I peruse the list of challenged titles, the more confused I become. Our country is a gumbo of cultures enhanced by the lived experiences and traditions of diverse people whose uniqueness adds flavor to our Americanness.  Just as there is no such thing as a one ingredient recipe, neither should there be the promotion and elevation of one singular story. To say that there is not room for more than one…

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Hats

Hats. I wear many of them. Literal hats of winter because in New York it gets cold. But other hats too. Teen librarian, school librarian, media literacy skills teacher, colleague, friend, relative, potential problem predictor, in-house worrier, tech-trouble-shooter, mask/face covering supplier, hand sanitizer distributor, and so many more hats. 

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Book Banning

Challenges to Critical Race Theory (CRT) being included in educational curricula from elementary schools to universities is making headlines across the United States. A troubling – and perhaps unexpected- related trend is now occurring in school and public libraries: using CRT as a reason to ban books from library collections. As so much of the world is working to move toward greater inclusivity, authors and librarians are seeing the opposite. If you’re a librarian facing a challenge to materials, you’re not alone, and you’re not on your own. While no one can predict the future, it’s certain that CRT challenges to library collections are not going away. As librarians and advocates for free access to library materials and the benefits they provide, it’s our duty to keep materials accessible to all readers.

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Grassroots 101: How to Save Your Library from Organized Censorship

There is a dramatic surge in materials challenges at school and public libraries across the United States. What can librarians do to protect intellectual freedom? As a local activist turned elected local official, I have a few thoughts on how you can defend against book banning in the community where you live. If challenges occur at a library where you work, you must be unbiased and confer with the leadership of your institution.  It’s all about organizing: mobilizing large numbers of people.

Intellectual Freedom

The Answer to a Bad Book is a Good Book, or What to Do When You Receive a Complaint about a Bad Book

How do you tell a bad book from a good one? I’m sure you have some excellent ideas from your own selection techniques. You know how to select and recommend books for your readers and their individual tastes and interests. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about what a constituent, citizen, taxpayer, parent, or child d thinks it’s a “bad” book, and it’s in your library and they want it out. What do you do when a book is challenged? There may be many of your readers who like this book, but the person in front of you with irritated look on his or her face think it’s bad, and you should do something about it. Bullet point 7 of “The Freedom to Read Statement,” states, “It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that…